LRH results sparks debate

Latrobe Regional Hospital’s latest performance figures have been used as part of a political football game.

Victoria’s political parties have sent mixed messages about the hospital’s ability to handle growing patient admissions statewide.

According to the Victorian Health Services Performance Report, released earlier this month for the three months leading up to March, at least half of LRH’s 126 Category One urgent elective surgery patients had been treated within 12 days, with 100 per cent treated within the 30-day target.

State Health Minister David Davis said the figures showed the state’s hospital system was handling widespread increased demand over the past year, and urgent patients were getting the priority they deserved.

However opposition health spokesperson Gavin Jennings was quick to label the figures proof LRH was “going backwards” under the Baillieu Government.

Mr Jennings focused on “alarming figures” which showed people were waiting longer for elective surgery, while pointing out nearly two out of every five patients were failing to be transferred to hospital beds within eight hours.

“LRH is under enormous pressure because the Baillieu Government isn’t providing the appropriate resources to support the doctors and nurses,” Mr Jennings said.

However Mr Davis said hospitals were still trying to catch up with elective surgery after mass cancellations during the March and December quarters as a result of the ongoing Australian Nursing Federation industrial action.

Patient intake at LRH was up on previous results, with 7841 admissions over the three month period, up from 7119 in the same 2011 timeframe, while elective surgery waiting list numbers were down by the same comparisons, from 1193 to 1108.

Calls to the ANF by The Express were unanswered at the time of going to print.